Photographer: Neil Krug
Record Label: Ninja Tune
Heidi: What inspired you to create this type of imagery for the album package?
Neil: I had one conversation with Simon (Bonobo) over coffee last summer in Los Angeles, and from that meeting the overall narrative of the package began to form. I’ve been a fan of Bonobo for a long time and wanted the campaign to stand out amongst the rest, so it was a process of chasing a specific type of landscape imagery tied to the mood of his album, whilst complimenting my own sensibilities of the type of artwork I think will work best across all platforms.
I think the mantra we both took away from our meeting was “beautifully sinister”. Once I honed in on those words and placed myself in the mojave desert at 4am, the imagery began to spill out. I wanted the work to feel primal and alive, building in momentum into the earth cracked open. That feeling was materialized into the image that became the cover.
How many hours of drone flight did you accumulate to get the clips you were looking for?
If I remember correctly, only 45 minutes of drone material was shot. I chased the edit I had in mind so everything was done in one or two takes, plus the sun was going down.
How did the unnatural surprises get incorporated into the images ( fire, blue light, smoke)
The elemental fire, smoke, and light are the characters the landscape shots required in order for the viewer to get involved, otherwise the imagery felt too safe as far as i’m concerned. The elements invite you in and give the work a reason to exist.
Did you promote yourself to them or did they seek you out?
Ninja Tune (the record label) made the request. I live by the code of do right by the work, and the work will do right by you.
I know photography wasn’t your first choice and your film experience was self-taught. Looking back, how did this influence you now and set you apart?
It’s hard to say, as it’s something I don’t reflect on often. If anything, the self-taught method allowed time from me to grow a thick skin, and more importantly to trust the work. I’m not certain I would be here now if I didn’t pay attention to these things early on.
How long have you been with FORM and has your work evolved or changed since you’ve been on board?
I’ve began working with FORM during the fall of last year and it’s been a rewarding working relationship ever since. Having a great team to work with on a day-to-day basis is an important part of the process, so it’s a blessing to be in the company of people who share your vision.